The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins

the girl on the train

The Girl On The Train centers around Rachel a woman with so much going on in her life, I do not know where to start. Divorced, depressed an alcoholic who suffers from low self-esteem to her her life is over, pointless. But there is one small glimmer of light in her life, the train that runs from Ashbury to Euston, one thing, in particular, makes her happy, watching the houses and the occupants going about their lives like she use to, normal happy lives. One couple in particular that she loves to check on are Jess and Jason a couple she sees on a regular basis, to Rachel they seem so happy, so in love, so normal everything she no longer feels. But like everything else in her life, even Jess and Jason change. One day whilst traveling on the train Rachel spots Jess in her backyard in a romantic embrace, the problem is the man she is with, is not her husband. Filled with rage that Jess could be so heartless towards Jason and hurt that this perfect couple is not so perfect after all, she decides that she needs to do something, what, she has no idea, but she has to do something. What she finally decides to do after thinking it over, is to get blind drunk get on a train and head for Witney where her perfect couple lives, where she used to live.

The next morning she wakes full of dread knowing something bad happened, but she has no idea what. She is covered in bruises, her lip is cut, and she has a wound on her head. But the worst is yet to come when a few days later she finds out that Jess, whose real name is Megan Hipwell has gone missing. If only she could remember what happened when she took the train to Witney, she was mad at Megan for what her betrayal, she was blind drunk, but as usual, the events that took place are just a huge black hole in her memory. Did she hurt Megan? Did the man Megan was having an affair with her hurt her? Or had she simply disappeared too ashamed to face what she had done? When the police turn up to question her after they were given information that she was in the area on the night of Megan’s disappearance, Rachel begins to wonder if maybe, just maybe she is in some way responsible. As she begins to dig deeper she realises that no one can be trusted and everyone has secrets.

This is one of the best debut novels I have read, it had me hooked from the first page. I totally sympathised with Rachel and the lot she had been dealt in life. Her hopelessness and despair can be overpowering at times and there were times when I shook my head at the choices she made. The story flows smoothly in a time line leading up to, and after Megan’s disappearance. Instead of chapters, the book is told from the perspective of Rachel, Anna, and Megan. Books written in this style are my absolute favourite as I feel that it allows the reader a better chance to connect to the characters. I didn’t just read the book I submerged myself into it becoming part of it, like a shadow in the background urging Rachel on to figure out what really happened the night Megan disappeared.

It is a great study into human nature, it shows the reader, whether they want to see it or not that people lie, people, cheat. The most important message that I took away from this book, that I feel the author was trying to convey is, no matter how well you think you know a person, there is always something more, something dark that unless we look into that darkness we never find out the truth.

Highly recommended.

Anthony Puyo Presents: Misery Theatre

anthony

Misery Theater is a novella that reminded me of Creepshow but in book form. The author presents us with two short stories titled, Happy Ending and Angry. Both have a macabre feel to them with a touch of humour thrown in for good measure. Minford who introduces us to each story puts me in mind of Alfred Hitchcock.

I do not think it would be fair to a prospective reader if I went into too much detail about the stories as giving too much away would really spoil it. I will, however, note that the author has a very keen understanding of what a reader wants when it comes to setting a scene to drag them in and keep them there as they read from one spine chilling event to another. I absolutely love the use of irony with both stories, nothing pleases me more than a story that dishes out a heaped helping of irony and these stories deliver that in spades. When a story has a dash of irony thrown in, you almost feel sorry for the bad guy/girl….Almost. The only thing that I would make a note of for the author, there are a few mistakes, these should be rectified with another edit.

If you are a fan of the horror/suspense genre, then these short stories are definitely worth taking a look at.

Hollow House by Greg Chapman

hollow house
E-book was gifted for review

Hollow house stands silent, watching, waiting, soon there will be life within its walls again. The Kemper House is old, decay is eating away at its very soul, but unbeknown to the residents of Willow Street the Kemper House will change all of them, one neighbour at a time. It all starts one morning when the residents of Willow Street starts to smell the stench of death, decay and foreboding. They all feel the house’s presence and know that something is coming bad is coming.

Hollow House is the debut novel of horror writer Greg Chapman, and cements his place firmly in the genre. The cleverness of this book starts even before you begin reading, the cover is an ingenious disguise for what lies in wait for the unsuspecting reader. The style of writing has a mix of Stephen King and R.L. Stine about it. There is also a touch of mystery in the storyline as well, which keeps the reader engaged throughout. My only real disappointment was the back story in regards to the house itself. How it came to be was explained, but for me, I would have personally liked a bit more detail into Kemper himself, apart from that it was definitely a book that I found myself engrossed in, just as the house draws in the residence of the street.

The characters are all extremely well developed to the point where one of them, Darryl actually made my skin crawl. When reading his parts in the story I could actually envision in my mind the way he moved, the way he acted even the way that he smelt. I found myself drawn to the character of Ben, I read the book looking at it from his point of view, the investigative side of him I found interesting and like Ben, I wanted to find out the mystery surrounding the Kempler House. Definitely a story that you need to read with the lights on.

Highly recommended for fans of horror.

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

paris

The book was gifted by The Reading Room for review.

Jean Perdu runs a bookshop from a barge on the Seine or rather a literary apothecary. Jean has a gift for sensing which book will help heal the souls of all who enter his domain. Unfortunately, Jean’s gift does not extend to himself, nothing seems to cure his heartbreak or take away the painful memories of a long lost love. Two decades ago Manon walked out of his life and back into the arms of her fiance. Jean stopped feeling, stopped loving and stopped living. However, Jean’s life changes with a new arrival at the apartment where he lives. When he finds out she needs furniture he happily gives away his table, one less thing to remind him of his former life with Manon. Much to his horror, Catherine discovers the letter written from Jean’s long lost love Manon. Catherine, who is going through the break up of her marriage tries to help Jean by making him read the letter, what follows is one man’s journey to find himself. To bring back to life the man he used to be, to stop living in the past and most importantly to forgive.

When I was only nine pages into this book I was in tears so I knew that it was going to be a great story. I was not wrong. From the first page, I was drawn into Jean’s world, by the end of the fourth chapter Jean had me wrapped around his little finger. There is nothing, nothing about this book that I can fault, it is beautifully written, the story flows like the rivers that Jean sailed on with his book barge and the characters are full of life that you cannot help but feel strong emotions for them.

Any book that deals with emotional issues I find soothing for the soul, not because I enjoy others heartache, but, if the reader is open to the message in the book, they can take something away from the story and use it to improve their own life. Jean’s issues with the loss of his love so many years ago and the realisation of what he must do to find himself again, can make the reader look at themselves in a whole new way. He is a man who was lost and needed to be found again. What could he possibly do after all these years to overcome the burdens he had placed upon himself for so many years. Jean Perdu’s story has touched my heart and my soul, his story will stay with me for the rest of my life. If you take the time to read this wonderful book, I hope that Jean will become as special to you as he did to me.

Highly recommended.